BMW 7 Series (E38)
|BMW 7-Series (E38)|
|Designer||Boyke Boyer (1990, 1991)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car (F)|
|Body style||4-door sedan/saloon
4-door extended sedan/saloon
|Wheelbase||SWB: 2,930 mm (115.4 in)
LWB: 3,070 mm (121 in)
L7: 3,320 mm (131 in)
|Length||SWB: 4,984 mm (196.2 in)
LWB: 5,124 mm (201.7 in)
L7: 5,378 mm (211.7 in)
|Width||1,862 mm (73.3 in)|
|Height||SWB: 1,425 mm (56.1 in)
LWB: 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
|Curb weight||728i: 1,710 kg (3,770 lb)
728i: 1,740 kg (3,840 lb) (auto)
730i: 1,725 kg (3,803 lb)
730i: 1,755 kg (3,869 lb) (auto)
735i: 1,745 kg (3,847 lb)
735i: 1,810 kg (3,990 lb) (auto)
740i: 1,850 kg (4,080 lb)
740i: 1,930 kg (4,250 lb) (US)
750i: 1,960 kg (4,320 lb)
730d: 1,830 kg (4,030 lb)
740d: 1,960 kg (4,320 lb)
728iL: 1,765 kg (3,891 lb)
730iL: 1,750 kg (3,860 lb)
730iL: 1,780 kg (3,920 lb) (auto)
735iL: 1,845 kg (4,068 lb)
740iL: 1,890 kg (4,170 lb)
740iL: 1,945 kg (4,288 lb) (US)
750iL: 1,995 kg (4,398 lb)
750iL: 2,085 kg (4,597 lb) (US)
L7: 2,270 kg (5,000 lb)
The BMW E38 model was the basis for the 1995 through 2001 BMW 7 Series automobiles. In early 1988, development began on the third generation 7-series codenamed "Entwicklung 99". From 1989 to 1990 styling work was done initially under design director Claus Luthe (through April 1990), when Boyke Boyer's concept design was chosen and further refined into production form with engineers. In February 1991, the final production design for the new 7-series was approved by the board 36 months ahead of 1994 production. On April 27, 1993 German design patents were filed featuring a pre-production prototype as a design representation. Patents were later filed on October 27, 1993 in the United States. Production started on July 23, 1993 on pilot production models and US specification variants on January 13, 1994, with series production commencing on February 17, 1994 and US-specification in the second half of the year. In May 1994, the 1995 model year E38 BMW 7-Series was unveiled.
Some E38 models including 728i 730i  735i 740i were offered with either a five-speed automatic or manual (Manual transmissions were not offered in North America), the 730d, 740d, 740i/iL, and 750i/iL had a 5-speed ZF automatic standard. In the Americas, the models were sold as the 740i, 740iL and 750iL. The 740i/iL were initially powered by a 4.0 L engine, then a 4.4 L V8 engine. The base prices in 2001 were US$62,900 for the 740i, US$66,900 for the 740iL and US$92,100 for the 750iL. The considerably rarer 5.4 L V12 was BMW's flagship vehicle, with a 5.4 L 322 bhp (240 kW; 326 PS) engine, also shared by the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. Some I6 and all the V8 and V12 cars had long-wheelbase variants, with the "L" added to the designation. A rare executive long-wheelbase limousine model was also produced, called the BMW L7, available only with a 5.4 L V12. Protection Line light-armored vehicles were built from 2000–2001, again utilizing the 740iL and 750iL platforms, and cost US$99,100 and US$124,400, respectively. These models included body armor, bullet-resistant glass and run-flat tires. A High-Security version with even further protection was also available in Europe, known internally as the 750iL S.
Notable options on the E38 7 Series included EDC III Electronic Damper Control, ASC+T traction control, high-pressure headlight washers, auto-leveling low beam xenon HID headlamps, power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, a DSP sound system with 14 speakers and four subwoofers as well as 6-disc CD changer, onboard automotive navigation system (1994-1996 MKI based on the VDO-Dayton Carin system, 1997-2000 MKII based on the Phillips system with separate Trimble Navigation receiver, 2001 MKIII based on the Phillips system with internal Trimble Navigation receiver). The E38 7 Series never had the factory DVD-ROM based Navigation system  (although upgrading to this system is a simple process). Other features included an automatic climate control system with separate controls for the driver and passenger, a three-position memory system for the driver’s seat (which controls safety-belt height), steering wheel and outside mirrors. Front-seat side airbags and a Head Protection System (HPS) airbag were also standard. The 750iL featured an all-leather interior with burl walnut trim, while the 740i & 740iL featured leather on the seating surfaces and air bag covers on the door cards. The sport model featured a Sport steering wheel, Sports seats, Shadowline exterior, Sport Suspension, a shorter final drive ratio, and "Vavona" wood trim on the 740 models or a special wood trim with an inlay resembling nautical flags on the 750iL sport models (The Sport 750 was offered for 2001 model year only). The continuous-motion Active Comfort Seat technology was introduced in 1998 to improve comfort and reduce fatigue for the driver and front passenger. This system uses two fluid filled bladders which alternate in height. The E38 could also be optioned with break resistant glass (not bullet resistant like the protection models, but are shatterproof), which generally suffer from delamination over time due to UV exposure.
When the E38 was phased out in 2001 to make way for the new E65, sales of E38s increased noticeably in the car's final months of sales as people moved to buy the car before it was replaced for the 2002 model year. The E65's radical styling and iDrive were not initially well received by consumers, so used E38s increased in value as demand increased. Also contributing to the E38's continued popularity was its appearance in several films such as Tomorrow Never Dies, The Transporter, Bimmer and The Game. The E38 740i featured in the BMW Film Ambush, even though it was the only featured car in the series to be replaced the following year.
|725tds||2.5L||M51D25 turbocharged I6||Diesel||105 kW (143 PS; 141 hp) / 280 N·m (207 lb·ft)||1995–2001||9053|
|728i||2.8L||M52B28 I6||Petrol||142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) / 280 N·m (207 lb·ft)||1995–1998||26171|
|728i||2.8L||M52TUB28 I6||Petrol||142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) / 280 N·m (207 lb·ft)||1998–2001||12776|
|728iL||2.8L||M52B28 I6||Petrol||142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) / 280 N·m (207 lb·ft)||1995–1998||1915|
|728iL||2.8L||M52TUB28 I6||Petrol||142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) / 280 N·m (207 lb·ft)||1998–2001||4901|
|730d||2.9L||M57D30 turbocharged I6||Diesel||142 kW (193 PS; 190 hp) / 410 N·m (302 lb·ft)||1998–2001||12336|
|730i||3.0L||M60B30 V8||Petrol||160 kW (218 PS; 215 hp) / 290 N·m (214 lb·ft)||1994–1996||20876|
|730iL||3.0L||M60B30 V8||Petrol||160 kW (218 PS; 215 hp) / 290 N·m (214 lb·ft)||1994–1996||2137|
|735i||3.5L||M62B35 V8||Petrol||173 kW (235 PS; 232 hp) / 320 N·m (236 lb·ft)||1994–1997||12971|
|735i||3.5L||M62TUB35 V8||Petrol||174 kW (237 PS; 233 hp) / 345 N·m (254 lb·ft)||1998–2001||8510|
|735iL||3.5L||M62B35 V8||Petrol||173 kW (235 PS; 232 hp) / 320 N·m (236 lb·ft)||1994–1997||3863|
|735iL||3.5L||M62TUB35 V8||Petrol||174 kW (237 PS; 233 hp) / 345 N·m (254 lb·ft)||1998–2001||3100|
|740d||3.9L||M67D40 turbocharged V8||Diesel||180 kW (245 PS; 241 hp) / 560 N·m (413 lb·ft)||1998–2001||3450|
|740i||4.0L||M60B40 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 400 N·m (295 lb·ft)||1994–1996||33322|
|740i||4.4L||M62B44 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 420 N·m (310 lb·ft)||1996–1998||28272|
|740i||4.4L||M62TUB44 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 440 N·m (325 lb·ft)||1998–2001||27259|
|740iL||4.0L||M60B40 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 400 N·m (295 lb·ft)||1994–1996||12402|
|740iL||4.4L||M62B44 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 420 N·m (310 lb·ft)||1996–1998||40655|
|740iL||4.4L||M62TUB44 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 440 N·m (325 lb·ft)||1998–2001||38223|
|740iL P||4.4L||M62TUB44 V8||Petrol||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) / 440 N·m (325 lb·ft)||1998–2001||151|
|750i||5.4L||M73B54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1995–1997||6888|
|750i||5.4L||M73TUB54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1998–2001||1671|
|750iL||5.4L||M73B54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1995–1997||11038|
|750iL||5.4L||M73TUB54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1998–2001||4039|
|750iL P||5.4L||M73TUB54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1998–2001||85|
|750iL S||5.4L||M73B54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1995–1997||253|
|750iL S||5.4L||M73TUB54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1998–2001||344|
|L7 (750iXL)||5.4L||M73B54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1996–1998||462|
|L7 (750iXL)||5.4L||M73TUB54 V12||Petrol||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) / 490 N·m (361 lb·ft)||1998–2001||437|
- E38 Production begins in 1994 for the 1995 Model Year replacing the E32. Initial production E38s were available with either a 2.5L and 3.0L Turbodiesel I6 or 3.0L and 4.0L M60 V8 or the 5.4L M73 V12 engine.
- US Model Range includes the 740i, 740iL and 750iL.
1995 E38 used an aluminium block with Nikasil plated cylinder bores - nickel containing silicon carbide particles. Unfortunately, excessive sulphur from fuel reacts adversely with the nickel, causing very slight blemishes in the top few millimeters of the cylinder bore. This is no longer an issue today as US fuel companies reduced the levels of sulfur in their fuel to acceptable levels in the late 1990s.
- DSC III (Dynamic Stability Control) became optional on 740i/740iL and 750i/750iL.
- A lesser known fact is that early production 740i/740iL's (The 1995 model year) came with the 3.15 final drive ratio (versus 2.92 in the later models).
- 750i included Steptronic automatic transmission with manual shift mode.
- 728i and 735i were launched with traction control, ABS, alloy wheels, dual airbags, air-conditioning, leather upholstery, and electric front seats.
- 740i and 740iL changed from the M60 4.0 L to the M62 4.4 L V8 engine.
- Steptronic and traction control become standard on 730i, 740i, and 740iL. Steptronic is not available in the North American market until 1999 when the 740i ZSP Sport Package was offered.
- An Alpina sports suspension, onboard TV and satellite navigation system were offered as options.
- Worlds first production car with front passenger head airbags. In late 1997 the 1998 model year 7-series and E39 5-series were fitted with a tubular shaped head side airbags (Inflatable Tubular Structure (ITS)), the "Head Protection System (HPS)" as optional equipment. This airbag was designed to offer head protection in side impact collisions and also maintained inflation for up to seven seconds for rollover protection.
- 730i/730i SE and 735i/735i SE launched. Equipment includes central locking, front fog lamps and electric heated mirrors; 735i has rear head restraints and electric front seats; 730i SE has a sunroof; 735i SE has air-conditioning, cruise control and leather.
- Revisions midway through the model year include automatic air-conditioning on 728i/735i; on-board computer on 728i;
- xenon headlamps became standard on 750i/750iL.
- The 750iL (actually a re-badged 740iL) is extensively featured in the high grossing James Bond series film Tomorrow Never Dies.
1998 mid-life facelift
- 740d introduced with a 3.9L M67 V8 twin-turbocharged diesel engine.
- A new ZSP option (Sport Package) includes an Alpina suspension, multi-spoke alloys, sports seats and shadowline exterior trim.
- Revisions midway through the model year include new front and rear lights, a revised grille, black side sills and valances, and a remote locking with memory system
- DSC III (Dynamic Stability Control) now standard on all 7 series models
- Satellite navigation system become standard on 750i and 750iL
- HPS or Head Protection System front passenger head airbags is introduced and offered as standard on all 7 series models (indicated by HPS badge on interior A-pillar)
- 'Facelift' from 9/98 production featuring 'scalloped' headlamps, new front fenders with shorter turn signal lenses and side fascia improvements (including elimination of the visible jackpoints)
- The 735 and 740 models receive an improved M62TU V8 engine with single VANOS variable valve timing. The 4.4 engine gets a marked increase in torque from 420 to 440 N·m (310 to 325 lb·ft). Horsepower remains at 210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp).
- A Sport Package becomes available for the 740i which includes: blacked-out exterior "shadowline" trim, Vavona redwood interior trim, 18-way adjustable sport seats, staggered 18-inch (460 mm) alloy wheels, a stiffer M inspired suspension with thicker front and rear anti-sway bars, Steptronic Transmission with higher stall-speed torque converter, and a lower 3.15:1 final drive ratio (versus 2.92:1).
- The 750 receives an improved M73N 5.4 liter V12 engine making a slight increase in power and torque. Also, the first model year to feature the Steptronic Transmission on the 750iL in the US.
- The 750 now includes Electric Catalytic Converter, or "E-CAT", assemblies. Heating coils inside the catalytic converter assemblies are electrified just after engine start, bringing the catalyst up to operating temperature very quickly to qualify the vehicle for Low emission vehicle (LEV) designation. This system required the use of a two-battery system. This electric catalytic converter had been fitted since 1995 by Alpina to their B12 5,7 E-KAT saloon based on the BMW 750i, as it had been developed jointly by Emitec, Alpina and BMW.
- A number of previously optional features become standard for US models in March 1999 (release of model year 2000), including Xenon headlamps, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, headlight washers, GPS navigation, and upgraded audio including DSP and 6-disc CD changer. This was known as the Premium Package.
- The sport package is extended to include the 740iL but without the same performance enhancing features as the 740i receives. The 740iL Sport maintains the same visual cues as the 740i Sport such as vavona redwood trim, shadowline exterior trim and 18" staggered alloy wheels.
- In Europe, a radar based Adaptive Cruise Control became available as an option.
- Final year of E38 sales with production ending in July 2001.
The last E38 (a silver 740i with black leather interior) rolled off BMW's assembly line on July 27, 2001 to make way for the new E65.
- Body-colored side skirts and bumper facias, which were previously flat black.
- Clear front and rear turn signal lenses replace amber-colored lenses.
- The sport package is extended to include the 750iL. The 750iL Sport maintains the same visual cues as the 740i Sport & the 740iL Sport such as shadowline exterior trim and 18" staggered alloy wheels. The sport package also sports a special wood trim with an inlay that resembles nautical flags. The interior is dechromed. The wooden grab handles are omitted from the sport models as well. The Sport model could also be optioned with Sport seats. But is a rare option as it meant giving up the active comfort seats.
- More previously optional features become standard, including a Motorola StarTAC or Motorola TimePort (depending on date of production) with BMW Assist telemetry system.
- Widescreen Navigation Display and a faster CD based navigation computer (MK III) were phased in from 9/00 production on all models.
- For US models, power folding exterior mirrors became standard on the 750iL, and were included in the optional convenience package on all other models.
Extended Wheelbase L7
From 1997 to 2001, BMW sold an extended wheelbase version of the E38; the 5.37-metre-long L7, also known internally as the 750iXL. Based on the 750iL with a 12-cylinder engine, it had a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). 899 examples were built. The L7 was only available in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. The 2000-2001 models had the privacy glass option which gave the luxury of separating the driver from the back passenger.
Flexible Electronics System
Since the start of production the entire in-car entertainment system (Radio Function, DSP audio system, Navigation System, Television and Telecommunications systems) is based on a flexible automotive communication bus, known as the I-bus. As a result, the E38 models can all be easily upgraded with the newer BMW technologies introduced in the 5-series (E39) and X5 (E53), including BMW's Bluetooth System, the DVD based Navigation system, as well as BMW's CD changers that play MP3s
Contributing to the E38's continued popularity was its appearance in several films such as Tomorrow Never Dies (750iL), Bumer "Бумер" (750iL), Enemy of the State (740iL), Invictus (740iL), Bad Santa (740iL), Fun with Dick and Jane (740iL), Valley of the Wolves (TV series) (L7), Showtime (740i), The Transporter (735i) which was a one off manual 750i badged as a 735i, "Live Free or Die Hard" which was a 2000 740i, and The Game (740iL). Even though it was the only featured car in the series to be replaced the following year, the E38 featured in the BMW Film Ambush which was released in fall 2001.
In the 18th James Bond feature film Tomorrow Never Dies, the sixteen E38 cars used during production were modified so they could be driven from the backseat. The car type is actually a BMW 740iL but they were re-badged as the 750iL. One survives today and can be seen at exhibition “TOP SECRET” at Museum Industriekultur, Nuremberg. Besides the 7 Series saloons, BMW also supplied a $14,000 R1200C motorcycle. BMW received the rights to use movie clips from the film in its multimillion-dollar campaign, and during the 1997 holiday season they offered a special promotion that included the R1200C with the purchase of the 750iL.
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The current model BMW 750iL has a maximum electrical load of a staggering 428 amps (5.9 kW)! In this car, over half of the maximum power load is from the short-term electrical heating of the catalytic converters, with the heating used so that they come up to operating temp quickly
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